A popular TikTok video has launched something of a discussion among the platform’s users about remote work, what environments are okay to do remote work in, and why remote workers of some professions are treated like children who won’t work if they’re not being watched.
The video itself is only five seconds long, but shows the TikTok user lounging in a wakesurf boat that’s cruising along the water with a laptop, in a swimsuit and sunglasses.
“Remote ‘workers’ on a Wenesday [sic] at 2pm,” the overlay text reads.
The text might seem to indicate that the user is mocking remote workers or suggesting that none of them are really working, but her replies to some of the comments suggest that she is a remote worker herself. Tags about things like “work-life balance” also indicate that she doesn’t consider the idea of doing her job while cruising down an idyllic lake in a swimsuit to be a problem.
“Sent this to my bosses,” wrote one commenter, “they say as long as my work gets done I could work from wherever.”
“I love it! Mine are the same [way],” replied the woman who made the video.
Remote work exploded with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic as many workplaces closed their offices and had their employees work from home rather than risk spreading a little-understood and dangerous illness. This resulted in something of a backlash from micro-managing bosses and people afraid that all that investment in ugly office buildings would be a waste, but many workers resisted going back into the office.
While CEO op-eds tried to claim that workers actually love having to commute to a stuffy office full of people they kind of tolerate rather than doing their jobs from the comfort of their own homes, polls found that actual workers love remote work. As bosses tried to force people back into the office, many workers quit and found new jobs at remote-friendly companies instead.
Studies have also shown that remote work does not result in less work getting done, as those against it seem to want to argue, and in fact greater flexibility and more leisure time improves productivity. Still, for some, the myth that remote workers are just lazy people trying to duck work and will only do their jobs under the watchful eye of their managers persists.
“Workers who get let go the first week of the coming recession be like,” wrote one commenter. “I’m sure you’ll have a lot of ‘Wenesday’ off.”
Others, however, argue that it shouldn’t matter where the work as done as long as it’s getting done with the expected quality. Many others complained that they couldn’t do remote work in quite the same way, especially on a boat like that, because their job requires more bulky equipment than a small laptop. In the case of teachers, some complained about being forced to do remote teaching in empty classrooms because apparently their bosses thought they wouldn’t teach the children otherwise.
“We’re adults. If the work gets done what does it matter,” wrote one user. “I’ll be working ‘remotely’ while touring the us national parks next year and I can’t wait.”
“I have to admit I get so salty when I see this bc I had to teach 1st graders remotely from an empty classroom bc no one trusted teachers to be working,” said another.